Michelangelo: Still I am learning. (Age 87)
A reminder that mistakes are a learning curve, that every first, second, third….time provides oppotunity for improvement, that you are always ancora imparo
When Lee asked me to consider being the Associate Pastor, my mind went in to overdrive. I have taken in and researched as much as I possibly could to learn everything that I could about being in the leadership position that God has opened for me. I have talked with numerous other pastors through email, social media and in person when ever possible. I have read and continue to read numerous blogs and web pages about being a better leader but nothing can show you how to be that better leader than jumping in and being as close to the fire as possible. I have learned so much in the few short months:
Here are the highlights of what I have learned:
People that you do ministry with are priceless. You wont agree with them all the time and they wont agree with you all the time but you need them as much as they need you regardless of if you know it or they know it.
Communication is vital. You cannot over communicate to those doing ministry with you, even about the simplest of things.
Encouragement will move mountains but destructive criticism will crush momentum. Always hearing negative comments will bring on depression and kill your motivation. Regardless of how hard or how much that you work, it’s not personal but I seem to take it like it is. Better to meet negativity head on by by simply asking for suggestions on how the one who is so negative would do it. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise the vision but it does let that person feel like you value their opinion.
Don’t try to push others but instead help pull them along beside you. Don’t try to force them to do what you need them to do but let them see you doing it beside them.
If you can’t be excited about church and the whole experience of worship, how can you expect others to be? Worship, pray, grow.
Plan ahead. Don’t plan a ministry around those who sign up first, but plan a ministry for those who will be a part of your ministry once it is going. People will not sign up for what you don’t have planned out in detail. They want to know what they are signing up to be a part of.
People will not come to events that they do not know about. Push events from every means and media possible as soon as possible. Let others outside of your staff know that there are events coming up.
Don’t let your ministry be your personal quiet time. Spend time with just you and God and focus on him, not on the things wrong with others.
Be a people person. Shake hands, hug necks, give high fives. Notice new people and reach out to them so that they become regulars and members, not just visitors.
Participate. Be seen and let others see you being a part of what God is doing. You can’t do everything and not everything will be what you want to do, but its important to others to see you making them important to you
Always do things to improve what you do. If your ministry is playing guitar, look for ways to be a better guitar player. Reach out to others who are already doing the same thing and ask for their ideas on ways to be better.
No church is perfect. It is full of people who each have their own opinion. Listen to them but make unbiased decisions on what is the best way to accomplish the vision or goal.
One of the best tools in your ministry toolbox is a mentor. Someone outside of your ministry who can help you see the forest when there are so many trees in the way.
Never neglect your ministry at home. Your family time is vital to the health of your marriage. Keep a balance between ministry time and personal time and never take for granted that person who supports you the most. They make sacrifices for your ministry just like you do, and their sacrifices often go unnoticed.
Ancora Imparo…(I am also, still learning!)
As I continue to seek Your will and the doors that only You can open for us, continue to show me what You would have me learn. Continue to put people in my path that I can learn from and share that knowledge with. Show me where You would have us plant the seeds in our lives and the opportunities that You have for us. Help me to always continue learning how to be all that You want me to to be for Your glory, not my own.